Raw & Unedited Thoughts From A Homeschooling SAHM Of 2
There. I said it!
Ever since we came back home from Arizona in August, I have struggled to find my groove.
It’s safe to say that I haven’t found it yet.
Immediately after we returned we started homeschooling back up, with a new co-op, all new curriculum, and a brand new routine. Mainly, with a baby who no longer naps in the mornings, making getting school done feel practically impossible.
I texted a good friend of mine who has two girls with a very similar age difference(my girls are 4.5 years). She was exactly where I am a few years ago and I needed her advice and help! She completely understood and validated everything that I was saying and feeling and pretty much just let me know, that 1) This season is REALLY hard and will be for a few more years 2) in a few years it will get a lot better! and 3) that I should be the blogger to write about how to homeschool with our particular family size.
Because, here’s the thing. In our community, most of the families are big. Like, really big. And, that is HARD. Totally not discrediting that at all. But it’s a totally different brand of hard. But for me, right now, I have two little ones that need me 100%, 100% of the time and it is impossible for me to give that to them. I have a 6(almost!) year old who needs my guidance and instruction for pretty much all of her schooling and I have an 18(almost!) month old who needs me 100% of the time. She is too little to sit and understand what I’m telling her to do and all the while she is distracting Abigail which makes it hard for her to stay focused and get anything done and I’m trying to teach and Mabel is scream yelling at me and asking to nurse for the 10th time of the morning because it gives her attention and ah! It’s just all really hard!
The other evening we were sitting in the living room and I looked over(my eyes might have been closed though) at Jim and just said, “Homeschooling is really hard.” And he was encouraging and was like, “I know it is. But you’re doing it! And Abigail is learning so much!” and things of that nature.
But that’s not all!
Let’s also briefly talk about the fact how Jim and I are doing this all solo. We have zero family here to help us and we never get a break. Someone asked me recently, “What do you guys do for date night?” and I was like “uhhh, we don’t.” Because we don’t have anyone to babysit for us for that to happen.
And I sometimes get SO jealous of people who get to go to Dr.’s appointments by themselves or to the store or….pretty much anything. Because, I NEVER get that. If I go somewhere by myself it is because I’ve left the kids with Jim- but mostly, they just come (literally) everywhere with me.
SO- now let’s swing back the other direction. I am so happy. I am so thankful. I am doing the number one thing that I have always wanted to do in my whole entire life. My girls are my whole world and I love them so stinkin much and there is nothing NOTHING I would rather do than stay home with them and homeschool them and be around them pretty much always.
And it’s hard to ever air what you’re really feeling or thinking in hard moments because at the end of the day, they’re the greatest blessing of my life and I have spent literal years praying for what I have now- BUT it doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and rainbows and easy peasy because of that. It’s still hard work, it’s still trying, and it’s still overwhelming. And while most days, I can be pretty good at keeping my crap together, lately, I haven’t. It has been like a slow snowball effect that just keeps accumulating in me feeling like I’m going downhill faster that I can control it.
Jim and I have been going to weekly marriage counseling(our pastor comes to our house of an evening after the kids are in bed- pretty much the only way we’d be able to make that work) and I’m sorting through and working through all of this stuff- and I have all of these hormones going nuts from breastfeeding and sort of slowing down and then not and my body is like what the heck is happening- and I’m taking care of the girls 100% of the time and I’ve become this mom AND teacher and I’m trying to figure out how to be both and I’m still learning how to navigate the whole sister sibling dynamic thing annnnnd typing all of that out makes me want a glass of wine 🙂
I recently told Jim how I was feeling and so he took it upon himself to hire two girls from church to come twice a month for a couple of hours to watch the girls so I can go somewhere else BY MYSELF.
Yesterday was the first time for me to EVER have something like that in my almost SIX years of motherhood. I left for two hours and I ate lunch. And I got my nails done. And I came home, and I told Jim that I think that will need to happen more than just twice a month, lol.
Whew, so. This is a heavy post and I don’t have a happy la dee dah ending for it. But this has all been kind of brewing under the surface and I knew that I needed to get it typed out.
I guess if it helps one other Mama(whether she’s a homeschool mom or not) to feel like, yep, I’m there too, then I’m glad of it. Because, solidarity and all of that. Or, I guess, even if not, now you know a bit more of where I’m at currently and I’ll be sure to keep you posted if I ever find that groove again 😉
:Edited To Add:
I think this conversation is really important and I have already gotten a lot of great comments- many of which aren’t coming to my email for me to reply to(grr!) so I’m going to be replying in the comment section below. Thanks for all of your feedback and I’d love to hear more of your thoughts!
I totally get this- and I’m not even homeschooling! It’s tough- all of it! I just recently weaned my almost 2 year old and my hormones went crazy. I need to blog about that because I feel like noone really talks about that. Babysitters are necessary. Book those girls at least once a week!
Girl yes. To all of it. I never knew how overwhelming and hard and tiring it really was to be at home with the kiddos on a full time basis. Throw working from home on top of it and I honestly don’t like the person I am some days. I lose my cool wayyyy faster than I should and feel stressed trying to manage it all, all the time. I try to remember its worth it (because it sooooo is) and that this season will pass. And the girls are happy and healthy and don’t seem to mind when mommy has a slight meltdown around 4pm everyday.. 😉 Hang in there, friend!
Oh man, isn’t that the truth? The girls are SO happy and completely healthy and they love us regardless of how quickly we have our slight meltdowns :p Jim stayed with JUST Mabel the other day for me to take Abigail to co-op when Mabel was sick and he left me a card after the fact that was basically like, “oh my goodness, I got a picture of your day and I respect you all the more now” ha! But I told him that he had only spent the morning with the quiet one :p
My kids are getting older (and are all in school all day), and I still treasure every chance I get to go somewhere all by myself! I need that bit of recharging in order to be a better mom.
It’s like a breath of fresh air! Or, at the very least, it’s not to have everyone shouting at you all the time 😉
I am so, so glad Jim did that for you. We’re really fortunate that we have family close by, so it’s much easier for me to get some time like that – plus with working, I’m out of the house every day. It’s so important to have time to yourself, mama! It definitely recharges your batteries and I definitely think you need it more than twice a month!
Yeah, I am too. I think it was definitely one of those things that I needed but would have never set up or asked for myself. So, it’s probably a good thing he took the initiative to do it.
And I think I’ll probably utilize it more than twice a month! Their mom messaged me last night letting me know that they would be available for that- before I even mentioned it! So, I’ll probably do that 🙂
I’m curious…and I’m not asking in a judge-y way, because I’m all about supporting other mamas and the decisions they make that they believe are the best for their own kids, but why do you homeschool? Is it possible that it might be time to re-evaluate why you’re doing it and whether it might be best for all involved to go to “traditional” school?
Again, I’m genuinely just curious. As someone who cannot imagine staying home with my kiddo all day (so.much.work.), I can’t even begin to understand how hard it must be to not only take care of kids all day, but to actually have the great responsibility of teaching them!
This comment didn’t come to my email for me to reply to, so I wanted to shoot a quick response over here. Hopefully you see it!
Homeschooling is 1000% the best thing for our family and for Abigail, but it’s still just really hard! Hard is not the same thing as bad- but it’s still hard!
The thing I know is that this season of life would be hard whether she went to traditional school or not- we would lose our slow mornings, I’d have to wake the baby for school pickup, i’d be tied to the schools schedule instead of our own. So, either way you do things, it requires sacrifices in your life!
But thanks for asking why we homeschool- I think that sounds like a good topic for a post another day 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to respond! I’m glad you’re confident that it’s the right thing for your family! And yes, just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not completely worth it!
Getting some “you” time (even if it’s just twice a month! and even if it’s spent grocery shopping solo!) will go a long way towards helping you feel less overwhelmed, I bet! I always try to get out for an hour or two on a weekend morning when my husband can be with our daughter – it’s amazing what I can get done and how much better I feel!
I have often said that sometimes living the dream feels like a nightmare!
Sorry, that’s not super encouraging except to say…I feel ya!
Lol! One of the ladies I follow(M is for Mama) says “hard is not the same thing as bad” and I have been feeling that a lot lately!
I am sure it’s so hard to not have any family close to help out. I kind of have the opposite problem in some ways. Jordan’s parents live less than a mile from us, and sometimes my MIL is like, “Can we take R for a bit so we can see her? You can go on a run or out on a date or whatever.” And I’m thinking, um, NO. Because I’m away from her entirely too much and I never want to give her to anyone else. I think what I’m learning is that there are good things and hard things about both situations, and it’s okay that not everyone can relate to everything we are going through, but at the same time it is important to have people in your life who CAN relate. I’m sure this is comforting and helpful to a lot of moms reading this! I admire you guys for doing marriage counseling. We have two sets of close friends who are going through divorces right now, and it’s so sad. You are setting a great example for your girls about what a Christian marriage should look like 🙂
Oh totally! I think you and I both might have a case of “grass is greener-itis” because there are definitely pro’s and con’s to both of our situations. And it’s easy for us to dwell on the pros of yours and emphasize the cons of ours(while overlooking our own pros!)
Anyway, I’ll promise to enjoy staying home all day with my girls more if you promise to not take for granted having family super close by. Mmkay? 😛
I’ve been on maternity leave with Max and P and seriously as much as I LOVE my children I do not know how you have done 6 years with no break. I told my husband I was going insane! It’s very hard, and from what I’m going through I can only imagine how hard it is for you. And I know you love those girls! I see it in every picture, in every post! I do not doubt you are their biggest fan! And I love that about you! This is the #1 reason I follow your blog, I can relate to your feelings of “this is what I was meant to do” – still you deserve your “me” time, you deserve to know who you are and what you like to do aside from your girls and Jin. (This is what I struggle with) love you Courtney, thanks for posting
Thanks so much, Chelsea! I appreciate your comment so much. I think this will probably end up in another post at some point, but perhaps I’m going through a bit of a quarter life crisis- lol. I’m definitely working through who am I, what do I believe, what do I want, and things that I haven’t really given a lot of weight and thought to for quite some time. It’s all good stuff, but it’s a lot of sorting! And is kind of shaking things up over here 🙂
So I obviously can’t relate to the homeschooling stuff (but I imagine it is damn hard), but everything else… oh I hear you! The no family thing is so so hard. I’m never ever alone. The only night I have spent away from Liam was when Finn was born. And I know part of it is our parenting style and choices, but it would be different with the help of family. We have talked about getting a nanny or mother’s helper of sorts to help when Conor travels. We’ll see. Perhaps a third child will force me to seek out some help!
Right, definitely. A lot of it is what I have chosen, so that makes me feel like it is hard to talk about how hard it is. Because then people are like…well…it’s what YOU wanted. But I think it’s totally fair to acknowledge there are lots of things that we want and love, but are still hard and/or trying at times!
And yeah, at the end of the day, I wish I had more help- but I also think I just miss my family too. Because when my family IS here, I’m not like, BYE! Off to go be by myself! No way! I want to spend time with them while they’re here for the short amount of time I have them. You know?
I 100% get the whole no family around to help dynamic. I get unbelievebaly jealous hearing people nonchalantly talk about their mom coming over because they had an appt, wanted to go shopping,etc. Date nights are far and few between for us too and forget about alone time for myself. ?
Oh my goodness, yes! Talk about a green eyed monster. That’d be me! lol
Solidarity, Sarah! And thank goodness for social media to help us not feel so alone in this- what did our moms do!?
Called their Momma’s on the phone EVERY day!
❤️ Amen! I feel like I’m drowning at times. Thank you for sharing….. It helps to know that I’m not alone in feeling these emotions at times!
Definitely NOT alone!! And I kind of describe it as like treading water. So tiring! But, nobody is perfect, and we’re learning right along with our babies how to navigate this whole thing. <3
Absolutely! Thanks for comment, Kristen. Definitely blah even though I love it is a pretty perfect description 🙂
I 150% get this AND needed to read it. I don’t homeschool but I keep someone else’s little girl so my days revolve around them and when she leaves, 100% back to just Andi. I just got a bible study guide that focuses on “am I just a mom?” And I’m excited to start it. With that said, this may come off creepy, but always hearing the Christian music in your snaps and seeing your positive family dynamic- you’ve actually jumpstarted me to get my butt in gear with my faith. I cried over it yesterday! You seriously rock – thanks for being a great Mama, blogger and role model!
This comment made me smile and tear up all at the same time. Thank you, Jessi!
Having some time to yourself is so important. I do have plenty of family around and whenever I hear from people I don’t it reminds me how fortunate I am. Especially since you aren’t even getting school time as your break!
Haha, right?! I must be certifiable 😉
You are in a very tricky season. I am there with ya (almost 9, 6, 4, and 2). It’s okay to feel the weight. I love that you aren’t shoving the weigh down and acting like it isn’t there. This phase will subside and then you can breathe again. I wish I could give you a big ol’ hug.
That’s what I hear! It’s always nice to be reminded that everything is a phase and that this one won’t last forever 🙂 I’m not much for hugging but I’d definitely hug you right back!
I STILL cant temember how we made it through the first year of Brielana’s life; between adjusting to a newborn and being a new SAHM, and homeschooling Kinsey- yikes!!! Right?! But it really was SUCH an amazing experience and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Give yourself plenty of grace in this time and if school is slacking a bit, so be it (isnt that the beauty of hs anyway?! 😉 Praying for you friend.
Haha, yes! That is part of the beauty of it! 😛 I think this year I have felt a definite shift in our homeschooling approach though. The last two years have been ultra laid back and casual. But this year, with joining a co-op with lots of memory work involved and trying to prepare myself for what our school days will look like so that I can be prepared to record our days for legal/state reasons next year(once she is 7) that I’m just putting way more pressure on myself to really excel. But, yes! I could use a dose of grace and patience…with myself and ESPECIALLY with Abigail. Thanks for the comment 🙂
Gosh, this just makes me want to give you the biggest hug right now. You are such a good mama and I can’t imagine how restrained you must feel. I was with mine for the summer with a couple of small breaks and I was going crazy. I wish I were closer to come and take those girls for you, or Mabel in the mornings. Just know that you are not alone, or crazy, for needing a break and “you time”. I’m so glad you and Jim are working on your marriage, maybe those girls can keep them one evening while you two go to dinner.
Not a bad idea. I complicate the situation since Mabel and I are still nursing and I am usually the one who needs to put her to bed. But maybe we’d be able to make that work somehow for a date night…but then of course there is the $$$ situation which is why we never hire a sitter in the first place!
ANYWAY, thank you for your sweet comment, Ashley 🙂
Girl, I totally get it!! I wrote a very similar post about a month ago, so I completely know how you feel. It’s slightly different for me because I work, but the never getting a break thing is HARD. Especially when Scott would be doing things with his friends occasionally, and me… not so much. At the same time, I really LOVE where I am in life, because this whole family business is exactly what I wanted 🙂 So I really do get it. I’m hoping to find a Bible study soon that I can join, and maybe give me an hour or so at night while my hubby watches the girls. Either way, I’m sending you a big big virtual hug, and prayers! And make sure you have a glass of wine! Or two 🙂
Hi from Virginia! 🙂 The years when your children are small are so demanding and I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It definitely was for me when my kids were all little.
As I was reading your post, I was just thinking about the fact that love is sacrificial. And sacrifice is hard! But we do hard things for people that we love. It’s evident that you love your girls and I know that God is impacting them through your life of sacrifice. You’re doing a great job!
On a practical note, maybe there are some older moms in your church who might be willing to help you out with the girls from time to time. I know people are busy, but it might be worth asking. Love and hugs to you!
Hi Karen! Thanks so much for reading and for your sweet comment!
I keep repeating to myself that “hard is not the same thing as bad” because it isn’t! They are two very different things and I think can impact our attitudes pretty significantly- I fully believe that motherhood is my mission field currently, and I’m SO happy to do it. SO happy. But whew, these little ones are quite…..refining 🙂
I’m sure there are definitely some older women in our church who would be willing to help, I don’t doubt that! I just don’t find myself ever asking for help or setting it up in the first place. I wouldn’t have had help this week if Jim hadn’t done it for me! I don’t know, it’s just one of those things I guess.
Oh man, when you’re kids are little, it’s so hard to get any time to yourself. I’m so happy that your hubby got you a little help, even those two hours you get to yourself is so needed! 🙂 And grocery store by yourself? What is that? Thanks for sharing, sometimes it’s hard to just say it out loud, I need help. You’re a good mama! Keep up the good work!
Because I am not a mother, I cannot and will not try to pretend to understand. I will pray for you, Courtney, your family, your ability. Even in a season of funkk, you still inspire.
I loved reading your thoughts here! These stages are really hard, I feel you. I just got home from a trip to Aldi, where for the 100th time this month I said, “I am not taking these boys shopping again.” . . and this time I really mean it. They are terrible to each other and to me in public. I’m glad that you’re going to get some more time to go out by yourself, and hopefully with Jim too!
Haha! Man, errand running with two is no joke! And they HAVE to come with me because we HAVE to get stuff done. Luckily I can drink a glass of wine at night, too bad you can’t 😉
“And it’s hard to ever air what you’re really feeling or thinking in hard moments because at the end of the day, they’re the greatest blessing of my life and I have spent literal years praying for what I have now- BUT it doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine and rainbows and easy peasy because of that. It’s still hard work, it’s still trying, and it’s still overwhelming.”
YES YES YES. Nailed it. Sometimes I find it so hard to articulate that feeling precisely. And you made my thoughts words!
You’re doing a great job, mama.
It’s super super super hard to articulate that feeling precisely! I still don’t feel like I got it quite right, but that didn’t stop me from at least trying to :p
Thanks, lady. You’re amazing too. xo
oooh my gosh! first of all, i think you are amazing. and that is why i have hounded you with homeschooling questions. 🙂 and i’m sorry for that!! like, as if motherhood isn’t the biggest challenge ever, add on top of it teacher and really. i don’t know how you do it!!! but you have SOOO earned the time off after 6 years. no matter how much you love your girls, all that love can wear ya out! and hey, we have both of our families in town… and i still legitimately never leave my kids ever. okay, i will say, i went to my pregnancy appointments alone last year. and yes, that was really helpful. i have also gotten one hair cut alone, which was just recently… but i was just freaking out the whole time because i don’t like leaving two kids on my one mom! but i feel like i relate to the general feeling of being on mom duty, and it is really exhausting. and for the life of me i cannot just get my kids to go to sleep and stay asleep at any kind of decent hour so i cannot ever plan post-bedtime anything, ever, at all, and dear goodness gracious i pray that day comes one day. and i also totally get that it’s hard to write all that out and feel like you don’t want to sound complainy because you also know how happy and in love with your kiddos you are. alllll of it soooooo valid and legit and normal and it’s seriously not hard to see that you are doing an amazing job!!! 🙂
I don’t know how you do it with your sleeping situation. I bow to your endless patience levels because I turn into the grinch mommy at the stroke of 8:30. lol!
Yes to all of this. I often ask myself how you do it. You seem (and ARE) a rockstar of a mom! Like your friend said, this will pass and it will get easier. I struggle with this too. In a few years my kids WILL be home schooled, it’s our goal. And I’m constantly telling myself that if we have a 3rd child there’s no way I wouldn’t loose my mind trying to homeschool 2 kids with a baby. You deserve all of the awards and are doing a great job. So glad you have some help now and get some time for yourself. Xoxo
Homeschooling with the baby was easy! It’s the toddler that is kicking my butt :p I don’t deserve ANY awards, but I so appreciate all of your kind words, Amanda. Thank you for encouraging me!
I can relate to this so much! I have been feeling absolutely overwhelmed this year. My children are 10,7,3, and 11 mo. I homeschool my oldest and by next yr want to homeschool my 2nd child too but am just not sure how I will do it! My 3 yr old wants attention, my baby needs me and I’m trying to teach, and then there’s all the laundry and house work yet! But there’s nothing I’d rather be doing even though I feel like I’m in over my head. Lol. Anyway thanks for sharing. I love reading your blog!
Absolutely! NOTHING I would rather be doing, but holy cow! And yeah lol, I guess I forgot to list laundry and house work. They aren’t even on my radar these days haha.
Thank you for reading and commenting, Katy!
So sorry this is a tough time right now. I feel like so many people are having a really crappy time! i wonder why. I don’t have any words of wisdom other than hopefully this passes soon!
I had that thought recently too, Chrissy! I think life with littles is just an overall overwhelming time. You’re needed so much and are running on not very many hours of sleep. Also, I kind of tap out after I’ve been scream yelled at for 10 hours straight :p
I don’t homeschool, but I do have children with a similar age gap – 4 years between my younger two. I kind of think it’s the age gap and where the kids are at in life. It’s demanding and there is a lot going on. I do want to say your hubby is amazing for finding some girls to give you a break!!! I need something like that. The only break I get is twice a month when I work in my oldest child’s classroom and I wouldn’t exactly call it a break. I would love some alone/me time. And girl, I am right there with you. I WANTED (and still want) this. I too fought through secondary infertility. It doesn’t make the realities of life any easier.
Lol, I wouldn’t call that a break at ALL dude. I wish I could give you that alone time! Isn’t it funny how it is so much easier to offer help to someone than to ask for it ourselves?? Crazy!
I think the 2IF element makes things feel more emotionally charged and tricky for me- just because I waited for SO long and wanted this so badly, that any time frustration or discontentment slips in, it just brings guilt with it as well.
Just THANK YOU. I only have one kid so far (18 months old–I’m exhausted, clearly you understand) and I’m planning to homeschool eventually. I am also without a family member anywhere nearby and haven’t had a date night with my husband since I was pregnant, never ever go anywhere alone, and it’s just so good to know I’m not alone in that. No one in my life understands how hard it is to never, ever have a break, and that gets old. I love being in every second of my daughter’s life, but someone give me JUST A LITTLE SILENCE. PLEASE.
Same! I love being in every second too, but man, the 18 month old lack of communication grunt/yell thing is about to do me in, dude. Girfriend needs some words(but preferably LESS words than her 6 year old sister, because omg)
Thanks for your comment, Michelle!
Girl, although we aren’t exactly in the same situation – I GET YOU! Mama time is SO important, but at the same time, I get the mom guilt every time I even think about it. You are such a great mama, don’t ever forget it!
Absolutely! Why can’t we be like our husbands and not think twice about this? 😛 Thanks, Ashley!
Homeschooling in the years before they are more independent learners is all-encompassing! My family is an odd homeschooling situation…circumstances have led to the point where we’re educating 4 middle schoolers and 3 5-year-olds (in addition to my actual baby sisters) at our home (due to odd situations with local schools and their family circumstances at home). I handle the kindergarteners–which is a really energetic job! And my Mom teaches the middle-schoolers. But sometimes my mom travels for work for a week at a time, which leaves me in charge of everybody at once and those weeks are pretty fun in their own way (I get tired of basic reading and arithmetic and love talking about history and higher-level science with the bigger kids!)…but I’m always really happy when Mom comes home because it’s a lot for one person!
Glad you’re finally getting a babysitter once in a while. It’s worth it!! For real, if you don’t have family, you need to find someone you trust because raising children doesn’t mean it has to be all you all the time. For some seasons, that’ll be best and it’ll be what you want, too, but as they get a little bigger, that need will be a little less–and there’s both good and bad about that.
The never getting a break bit? That’s me/us. Having no family around to help is so tough. I literally laugh at people when they ask what/where/when we have date nights. I’m always like, “Um, what’s that?” Sure we could find a sitter, but that’s just more $$$ coming out of the “date fund” (which is already pretty scarce – because, two kids, one income). I hate admitting my jealousy when I hear of my sisters-in-law receiving help from each other, or from grandparents (they all live within 20 minutes of each other). But, the feeling is there, and it’s real.
I’m going to put a bug in Scott’s ear about finding someone to watch the kids for a few hours a month. Because, hot dang, that sounds absolutely, positively glorious. I can’t remember the last time I peed alone, let alone did something like go to Target, or get a pedicure by myself!
Hang in there. This is a tough season, but one I’m sure will pass quickly.
Oh sweet mama! I can’t even imagine how hard it is. While I don’t homeschool Mason I do have times where the everyday mundane just completely wears me out! I do all the things with Mason and housework, etc. Nathan works about an hour away from the home and is gone from 5:15am until 6-6:15 M-T. Come Fridays when he is off I am like hallelujah, I get a break. Only to find out that I really don’t. There are things he needs and wants to get done on his days off since he does work away from the house. I understand that. But, that doesn’t make it any less hard. Anyhow, I am so glad you are getting some time to yourself. It’s so refreshing as a mom to have a couple of hours to recharge! Hang in there. You’re doing the absolute best you can for your girls and it’s enough. You are enough. And you’ve got this!
Oh my gosh, you are the cutest and have such an adorable family!